Causes of WWII

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Transcript Causes of WWII

The Causes of WWII
& How the US Got Involved
The big idea: WWII came directly
from the aftermath of WWI
Germany devastated by terms of Treaty of
U.S. Isolationist
League of Nations weak
Great Britain and France want to avoid
another ruinous war
Some WWI allies wanted more:
Italy felt like it was left out of spoils of Treaty of
Versailles - wanted territory
Japan still wanted China
The march towards WWII
German anger, Hitler, aggression
 Fascism in Italy
 Spanish Civil War
 Militarism in Japan
1. Germany Faces Economic
Germany in debt $67 billion dollars after WWI
 So it prints more money which leads to
enormous inflation
1914 $1 = 4.2 marks, 1923 $1= 1billion marks
These economic problems led to a
depression - widespread unemployment and
 Germans were unhappy and blamed their
problems on communists, Jews, and the
new Wiemar Republic gov’t (b/c they signed
the Treaty of Versailles)
 Germans want revenge
U.S. Response to German
Isolation from European affairs
Did send some relief/food to Germany
immediately after WWI
 Insisted Germany pay back the debt
When it was suggested they didn’t have any
money to pay with, Pres. Coolidge said “They
hired the money, didn’t they?”
In 1924 created the Dawes Plan which gave new
loans to Germany so they could pay back the old
Worked briefly until the US couldn’t make the loans
during the Great Depression
What signal did US action send
to Germany?
2. Rise of Adolph Hitler
Served in WWI - became an extreme
 Thought Germany was sold out by
Weimar gov’t b/c signed TofV
 Joined National Socialist German
Workers’ Party (Nazi Party) in 1921
Became a popular speaker
Imprisoned 1923 for leading an uprising
Wrote Mein Kampf (My Struggle) in jail
Outlined ideas of supreme Aryan race
Blamed Jews - said inferior, too
Said USSR was an obstacle to German expansion
Hitler Becomes a Dictator
After prison, Hitler worked on
increasing Nazi membership gaining seats in the legislature
 1932 - Nazis were largest political
party - chose Hitler to head the
 Hitler increases his power
 1933 - Reichstag fire blamed on
communists, Hitler suspends
constitutional rights
 1934 Hitler declares himself the
“Fuhrer” (leader) and heads a
fascist gov’t (authoritarian,
nationalistic, conservative)
Hitler’s Policies
Deprived Jews of jobs, civil
rights, made them wear stars
for easy ID (Nuremburg Laws)
 1938 Kristallnacht “night of the
broken glass” in Germany/Austria
Destroyed 200 sysnagogues, 7,500
Jewish businesses, killed 100, arrested
30,000 and put in prison camps
(115,000 emigrate from Germany)
Preached a platform of German
expansion and economic recovery
based on supremacy of Aryan race
U.S. Response
US focuses on domestic issues dealing with the Great Depression
$ was spent on New Deal programs, not
US military
 in
1930s the US military was 15th largest in
the world - same size as Sweden’s)
US hopes that arms control and
international peace agreements will
work to stop war
What signal did the US
response send to Hitler?
3. Fascism in Italy
Italy poor and politically unstable after the
war, wanted more land under TofV
 Fascism gains ground
Restore glory of Rome
Thought democracy destroyed unity and order
Hated communists & socialists
Appealing b/c people wanted stability and
Benito Mussolini - WWI Vet, Fascist
Benito Mussolini Takes Over
1922 “March on Rome” succeeds
in scaring King into making
Mussolini Prime Minister
 Mussolini increases his power controls elections, censors media
 Improved economy - modernized
agriculture, industry, education
 Imperialist foreign policy
Invaded Ethiopia Oct. 1935
US & Allied Response
League of Nations did not help Ethiopia and
did not punish Italy
 US continues to be isolationist
1935: 90% Americans say they are isolationist
FDR’s “moral embargo” against Italy
Asked US businesses not to sell anything that
might help Italy’s aggression
US businessmen do not comply.
Dow, “We do not inquire about the uses of the products.
We are interested in selling them.”
US Neutrality Acts (1935-7)
No sale of weapons to aggressive countries
No traveling on ships of countries at war
No loaning money to countries at war
What signal did that send
4. Spanish Civil War
1936-9, Francisco Franco
leads the Nationalists in a civil war to
defeat the Republicans (socialism &
 Germany & Italy sent troops & air force
to aid Franco & Nationalists
 Nationalists win & set up a fascist state
 Germany, Italy, Spain set up a military
alliance “The Rome-Berlin Axis”
(beginning of the Axis powers)
US & Allied Response
America continues to be neutral
Does not supply weapons to the Republicans b/c
feared it could then turn into a larger conflict
FDR wanted to keep American isolationist voters
3000 Americans go on their own to fight on
side of Republicans
 France, Britain do not do anything either
What signal did that response
send the Axis powers?
5. Rise of Militarism in Japan
Japan endured the world’s depression,
too. They also wanted to become more
of a world power.
 This led to a group of military leaders
controlling the gov’t in the 1930s
 Dissent with the gov’t was seen as
harmful to the country’s power
Censorship, arrested critics, secret police
1931- invaded &
occupied Manchuria
(northern China) coal/iron
“We are only seeking room that will let us breathe.”
- Japanese politician
Brutal treatment of Chinese (denied today)
1933 resigns from League of Nations
1936 became part of the Axis
Hitler wanted Japan to attack Russia and British
colonies in Asia
Japan wanted to gain territory & resources
US Response
1932 - Stimson Doctrine denounced
Japan, did not recognize new land
 1937 - US stops trade with Japan
 1937 - FDR’s “Quarantine Speech”
Argued to quarantine fascist aggression
Met with a lot of criticism - people thought
it would lead to war
– Didn’t act on it
What signal did that send
Japan & Axis Powers?
6. Violation & Appeasement
Germany begins to expand - violating TofV
1936, occupies Rhineland (had been given to
France in TovV
– 1938, occupies Austria, declares is part of
– 1938 Germany demands that the Germans in
Czechoslovakia have self gov’t
Britain tries to avoid war and appeases Germany,
negotiating a deal to give them self gov’t
Hitler demands control of Czechoslovakia
Munich Pact - Britain is okay with letting Hitler have
Sudetenland, Hitler promises to leave rest alone
British P.M. Neville Chamberlain declares “peace in our
U.S. & Allied Response
Appeasement (gave into
demands of Hitler in order to avoid
FDR sent telegram to Chamberlain urging
him to reach a peaceful deal with Hitler
FDR wrote to Hitler “The gov’t of the
US has no political involvements in
Europe, and will assume no obligations
in the conduct of the present
What signal did that send
Hitler and the Axis Powers?
7. Germany Demands More Land
March 1939 -Germany invades Czech.
No resistance b/c Czech leader feared
widespread death, so did not resist
Germany demands land in Poland
August 1939 Nazi-Soviet Pact
USSR/Stalin tried to form a military alliance with
Britain & France
They didn’t want to b/c didn’t like communism, thought
USSR was weak
Stalin negotiates pact with Hitler - Hitler happy
b/c USSR would not interfere with Poland plans
Agreed to split lands in Poland/Eastern Europe
US & Allied Response
Nobody stopped Hitler’s invasion of
 Britain and France sign alliances with
Poland to protect it if invaded
 FDR sent letters to Hitler & Pres. of
Poland urging them to negotiate a
Ignored, naive
What signal did that send to
Hitler & the Axis Powers?
8. WWII Begins
in Europe
Sept.1, 1939 Germany
invades West Poland
Sept. 17, 1939, Soviet
troops invade Eastern Poland
Sept. 3, 1939 France & Britain give Germany
two days to withdraw, then declare war on
Germany but do not send troops to Poland
Poland’s armies defeated in three weeks
Germany regroups during the winter - no
fighting, then invades Denmark spring 1940
Meanwhile, USSR invades Finland Nov. 1939
US & Allied Response
Britain & France declare war on Germany
but send no troops
 FDR tries to end Neutrality Acts so he can
send help to Britain & France
faced large public resistance but prevailed b/c
believed that if Britain & France lost, it would
pose a direct threat to US
Cash & Carry - US sells arms, supplies to F
& B as long as they pick them up here
 Americans are divided over whether to get
involved or remain neutral
What signal did this send to
Hitler & the Axis Powers?
9. The War Continues
Late 1940 - Hitler controls Eastern
Europe, Norway, Sweden, Belgium,
Netherlands, & France
 June 1941, Hitler invades Soviet Union
Knew he’d break earlier pact from the
– Wanted to expand into W. USSR
Britain is the last hope
US Response
Spring 1941 - FDR proposes Lend-Lease
US would lend, lease, or give supplies to any
country whose defense was considered vital to
protecting US from threat (mostly give)
Needed b/c Britain had no $ for supplies, so
couldn’t do “Cash & Carry” anymore
US started to ship goods in armored convoys to
ship goods as far as Iceland
End of isolationism
Oct 1941 - German subs sink two US
song Sinking of the Reuben James by Woody Guthrie
US population remained isolationist
FDR has Congress agree to let US convoys to go all
the way to British harbors
What signal did this send to
Hitler & Axis Powers?
10. Japan Grabs Land
Japan is gaining
territory in Asia as war
rages in Europe
Threatens US & British
Gen. Hideki Tojo
becomes P.M. of Japan
in 1941
he’s an
Japan & US Clash
Nov 1941, Tojo sends messenger to US to
try to negotiate a deal with US:
Japan would withdraw from Indochina
US would resume economic relations with Japan
But back in Tokyo, Tojo plans to attack US
Believed war with US was unavoidable b/c US
was the naval power in the Pacific who might try
to stop Japan from taking more land
Attack on Pearl
Dec. 7, 1941
 Japanese air attack of
US military base at Pearl
Harbor, Hawaii
Goal was to destroy US naval power in the
Sank/damaged 8 battleships, 10 other ships,
destroyed 188 planes, killed 2300 Americans
 US Aircraft carriers were safe (not in harbor)
US Response
Early 1941 US moved Pacific Fleet from
California to Hawaii to show power &
 US rejected Japan’s negotiations in Nov.
1941 - didn’t like appeasement
 Dec. 8, 1941 FDR asks Congress to declare
war on Japan following Pearl Harbor Attack
“A day that will live in infamy.” -FDR
Rest of Axis declares war on US days later and
US declares war back at them
US is now one of the Allied Powers
Attack on Pearl Harbor ended isolationism
What signal did that send to
the Axis Powers?
FDR’s “Declaration of War”
Speech - Dec. 8, 1941
Imagine you’re a member
of Congress listening to
his speech.
 What reasons does
Roosevelt give for
declaring war?
 How would you vote?
 How would you explain
your vote to the
constituents you